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The UK Cancer Lottery

Dec 10, 2007
There is, apparently, a one in five chance of winning the lottery which is reason enough for half the UK population to frantically rush to the shops on a Saturday evening to get their ticket. Now consider the fact that the odds are the same of getting a long-term critical illness and it makes you wonder why life insurance is not as popular.

Understandably, winning the lottery is a much more pleasant prospect to consider and would, of course, fund a move to Scotland where there are an extra 19 life-prolonging drugs available on the NHS than in the UK. But for the majority of us, that is not a feasible option. A much more sensible choice would be life insurance, to include critical illness cover.

Is this really necessary, I hear you ask. Many people believe it is not an affordable option and they take their chances in the 'it'll never happen to me' way of thinking. But consider the statistics. 620,000 people per year die in the UK. One in three men aged 30 will develop cancer, or suffer a stroke or heart disease before the age of 65 and over 11,000 women per year die of breast cancer.

That's not only a lot of people suffering undue financial pressures on top of serious illness but a lot of families coping with the added burden of depleted finances on top of such loss. 40,000 homes are sold every year to finance long term care for people who believed it would never happen to them.

Experts forecast that cancer cases would rise by a third by 2010. Some life insurance companies are now offering cancer cover insurance by itself. Is this worth having?

Well yes, if you consider that among the life prolonging drugs available on the NHS, some of them can cost 10,000 pounds a month. Some hospitals will try to refuse treatment if a patient is mixing NHS and private care but this is an illegal practice so check out your rights and insist on the very best of NHS care that your tax money pays and, at the same time, benefit from your insurance by having access to the best drugs on the market.

Things to watch out for are that some insurers will not cover anyone with a close family member who has been diagnosed with cancer. With one in three people being diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, that's a fair few people who could not access this cover so be sure to disclose all relevant information to the life insurance company before paying your premiums. With one in five claims being rejected because of undisclosed medical history this is not something to be overlooked.

However, on the plus side, premiums for cancer cover with life insurance are an average of 20 pounds - 25 pounds a month. Considering the odds, this is quite reasonable. The premiums can also be reduced if you commit to a healthy lifestyle.

So, by all means carry on with the lottery but not the lottery of life.
About the Author
Insurance expert Shaun Parker looks into the life insurance optional extra of cancer cover. To find out more please visit http://www.theidol.com/
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